Thanking vCOP: Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Cmdr. Marc Cournoyer, Cllr. GJ Nashen, Dir. Jordy Reichson, Lt. JP Theoret

Thanking vCOP: Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Cmdr. Marc Cournoyer, Cllr. GJ Nashen, Dir. Jordy Reichson, Lt. JP Theoret

The Cote Saint-Luc Council Chamber was the safest venue in the city last evening as over 70 members of the Citizens on Patrol group turned out for the annual year-end Chanukah-Christmas Holiday celebration. I was the lucky emcee for the evening and did my best to solicit a little laughter, poke a little fun and toss a lot of accolades to these amazing volunteers.

Supervisors Mitchell Herf, Lewis Cohen, Susie Schwartz with Mayor Anthony Housefather, Team Leader Elaine Meunier, Cllr. GJ Nashen

Supervisors Mitchell Herf, Lewis Cohen, Susie Schwartz with Mayor Anthony Housefather, Team Leader Elaine Meunier, Cllr. GJ Nashen

“We are so fortunate to live in a city with such an outpouring of volunteerism,” Mayor Anthony Housefather told the group in offering the appreciation of city council. “You folks are always there when we need you. In the afternoon, the evening, even overnight. You’re fantastic,” the mayor added.

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The evening was highlighted by words of praise by Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, Station 9 Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and his Lieutenant Jean-Pierre Theoret, City Manager Tanya Abramovitch and a special appearance by Dr. Joe Schwartz, a Cote Saint-Luc resident whose wife is a vCOP.

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Cllr GJ Nashen and EMS veteran volunteer Joy Rodgers

Cllr GJ Nashen and EMS veteran volunteer Joy Rodgers

Commander Cournoyer praised the work of the volunteers indicating their thousands of hours of patrols helped the city realize a reduction in crime by over 30%. “You are all helping to keep this city safe,” the top cop said in appreciation. Cournoyer praised the close relationship developed between the city’s volunteer services and the local police.

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Sitting safe with Joseph, David, Mark and Aldo

Director Reichson also noted that vCOP has been singled out as unique among cities and boroughs throughout the region with calls coming in from across Quebec seeking to understand our winning formula.

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I salute Senior Supervisor Lewis Cohen for his endless hours of dedication to the vCOP program. Lewis remains available to command the troops 24×7, nearly 365 days a year, ensuring the fleet of minivans is ready, bikes and scooters are in proper shape during warmer months, that the office is stocked with equipment and supplies and that all elements are running smoothly for our volunteers.

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Patrol pals: Allan, Mark and Irving

Standing by Lewis’ side (actually sitting beside him in the patrol vehicle) is his weekly patrol partner Susie Schwartz, also a supervisor, who handles all special events throughout the year. Susie meticulously calls and emails volunteers to ensure a good turnout when troops are needed to man events, large and small.

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A proverbial shoulder to lean on

Mitchell Herf, the third supervisor, oversees training and logistics. Together they manage in their free time to steer another half dozen officers, all of whom work to keep the 80 volunteers well trained, outfitted, motivated and covering as many shifts as possible at all times of days and night.

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Issie is vCOP Proud

The team leaders handle day to day operations and logistics including training and continuing education, member issues, new program development, smoke detector brigade, vehicle and two-wheel upkeep, uniform inventory, office supply, radio communications, online support, PR and communications, special events, scheduling and more. Many, many thanks to all these fine officers. And of course thanks a million to each and every member of vCOP for their time, effort and dedication to our city and our neighbours.

vCOP Selfie: Peter, Jordy and Gerry share a laugh

vCOP Selfie: Peter, Jordy and Gerry share a laugh

Volunteers patrol the city in marked vans, on bikes and electric scooters as well as on foot. Many offer availability at all hours in case of a significant emergency where several members are required to be deployed at a moment’s notice.  Emergency Call Outs, as the procedure is known, happen several times throughout the year for weather emergencies, major fires or missing persons, to cite a few examples.

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Team Schwartz: vCOP Alice and Dr. Joe

Patrollers receive ongoing training throughout the year, by other volunteers, police officers, public security agents, EMS volunteers and firefighters.

The commander's bodyguards: Elaine Meunier and Jill Saperstein

The commander’s bodyguards: Elaine Meunier and Jill Saperstein

A new program in collaboration with the Montreal Fire Department saw several vCOP members get trained in order to inspect smoke detectors.  These additional volunteer resources ensured that several hundred homes were inspected this year, far more than the Fire Department could possibly do on its own, and contributed substantially to the safety of our residents.

Team Kovac

Team Kovac

The annual holiday party is a chance to meet almost all members at the same time and to thank them immensely for their valuable services.

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